On July 5th, 2006, Hawai‘i Pacific University named Daryl Kapis as its new women’s volleyball coach. After a season of inputting a new system and style of play, Coach Kapis has done nothing but climb the ladder with more wins every season with his Lady Sea Warriors. This year he guided them to an 18-6 overall record, and with one of those losses to Division I University of Hawaii-Manoa, who at the time was ranked #3 in the nation. Coach Kapis took time to sit down with HPU Sports Information Director John Barry to reflect on the season and the future of his program.
JB: You’ve coached at HPU for five seasons and have consistently won more games than the previous season. What do you attribute this continued rise in success to?
DK: My coaching staff and I have become much smarter about recruiting the right type of student-athlete to HPU. We have gotten better at understanding the challenges of living in Hawai‘i and being a student-athlete here at HPU. In previous seasons, I focused my recruiting strategy on promoting Hawai‘i and HPU’s strong academic programs, but now I am very forward with expressing the challenges and benefits of coming to school in Hawai‘i. This recruiting season I can now add the success and stability of our program and the potential of winning a conference championship, which is a big plus.
JB: With 18 wins this season, the program made its biggest leap compared to your previous years. What do you attribute that to?
DK: Last spring we set our goals to our returnees and expressed our mission to our incoming players. We changed our mentality and gym culture to that of a conference champion. Putting in the hard work and giving ourselves the belief we were going to win before we stepped out on the court together helped us solidify that focus. Another one of our goals we set in the spring was to lead the conference in service aces. We changed our philosophy to that of an extremely aggressive serving team, and that helped us in a lot of matches. When it was all said and done we, for the first time, led the conference in aces.
JB: Kelly Balanay was an instrumental part of the success of the program. Talk about what it will take to replace her.
DK: Kelly has been with HPU all but one of my years here. There’s no replacing a talent like her and the impact she had on our team. Kelly helped bring HPU volleyball back to the level it was accustomed to, and now I have a better opportunity to recruit players like her to what I consider to be a very special program.
JB: What are your goals for 2011?
DK: Our spring practices last year went very well and I’m hoping to continue that this spring with both our beach and indoor system of training. Our returnees understand that they were ever so close to winning a PacWest Championship and are fully aware of what it takes to do so. This year we won both our matches against BYU-Hawaii who ended up winning the conference and going to the NCAA Regional, and we beat UH-Hilo in the last match of the year eliminating them from winning the conference. Unfortunately we lost two matches earlier in the season in five games that kept us one win shy of winning the conference. We learned some tough lessons this past season and I am hoping those experiences will help take us over the hump in 2011.